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[1975-12-11-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Billy Robinson


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Taken from my blog.
Billy Robinson is slick as catshit out there, especially that seamless side suplex floatover, and Inoki holds his own against Billy as they work the canvas with great back-and-forth mat wrestling and counterwork. There’s a lot of little things to love throughout the first fall, like Inoki cutting out Robinson’s arm and leverage when he’s got him in the rear leglock, the teased strikes and double arm suplexes, and Robinson’s mounting frustration early on, which turns to panic later as Inoki keeps him grounded with the headscissors. I like the way Robinson works the cravat, with those little wrenches to the neck. After Inoki more or less no sells the piledriver, Robinson takes a great bump in the corner after an irish whip and Inoki puts on the crab hold, which the masterful Robinson is able to twist his way out of him and turn into a backslide for the pinfall.
Robinson tries to strike gold twice with another backslide but Inoki’s fuming now and damn near tosses Robinson on his skull. The crowd starts heating up as they fight over another backslide and Inoki puts the pressure on Robinson, who’s looking exhausted by this point and trying to find some room to breathe in the corners. After an unsuccessful pin attempt after the much-anticipated double arm suplex, Robinson strikes Inoki in the ropes and boy, does Inoki look pissed and continues to stew as Robinson eggs him on, backpedaling around the ring and avoiding the lock up. When Inoki tries to get a hold of him, Robinson fights out and German suplexes Inoki; a theme echoed throughout the match. Robinson uses his weight to try and pin Inoki down but the strength of Inoki is impressive this late in the game as he bridges, pushing Robinson up. Inoki chasing after Robinson to get that second fall was so much fun to watch and after they trade double arm suplexes, Inoki finally captures the elusive Billy in the octopus hold, and the crowd is boiling over for Robinson’s surrender.
Inoki, now busted open after one of those sluggish Robinson elbows, is hot on Billy’s heels with dropkick after dropkick, trying to get that third fall before the time limit expires. By the expression on Robinson’s face, he’s ready for this thing to be over and things escalate to the point where they’re just shilling out stiff elbows until the time runs out. Awesome performances from both men, Robinson in particular, in a match peppered with explosive moments, killer submissions, and well-built bombs.


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  • 2 months later...

Fall #1 A very long and mat based fall. Some of the holds and escapes are really painful & remarkable. Some are pedestrian - one hold segment in particular comes to mind- Inoki's head scissor control segment. It goes on a bit too long but, there is some nice movement on Bill's part. It kinda looks like the Snake Pitter is wrestling himself rather than Inoki in this part. The finish saves us from this little lull. It's quick and surprising. Fall #2 This carries over from the end of fall # 1. It is much more physical & heated. It's uncooperative in the best way-stiff blows and hard-fought suplexes. Fall #3 This is quick, hard-hitting and heated fall. It's not over, even when it's over! Classic match

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  • 11 months later...

This was a little long. Robinson is so great to watch though. Not only did the holds they were using here look clinical, it was also fascinating to watch them zoning in whenever an opening for a potential finish presented. Robinson looked ultra slick and his escapes were great without being overly showy or contrived. Robinson coming up with different ways to go for the Butterfly Suplex was also highly entertaining. There are some slow parts and meandering. I thought it took Inoki a little long to start raising his fist and firing up the heat. Then he starts throwing hands, but Robinson makes him do a more generic sequence involving armdrags and a dropkick. I also disliked how Inoki didn't sell any exhaustion. Guess they were a little over their heads here going 60.

I found this jdw post which I guess explains why parts of the match came across as awkward:



I'll have to pop it in again, but there is a very clear point in the second fall where Inoki is picking it up and heading towards the "finish" of it... and Billy just cuts him off. When Billy finally gets around to giving Inoki the fall some time later, he's farting around, the clock is really running down, the natives (including Inoki) aren't looking to happy at all, and Billy almost gives it to him in a kayfabe breaking fashion with his selling. It leaves the match no real time for a third fall, again everyone is look extremely unhappy... other than Billy who doesn't seem to mind. The post match is similar with the NJPW side not happy and Billy not giving a shit. One very much gets the feeling that "the match as laid out" left considerably more time for the third fall to build through. More than that, there looked to be some real concern for a while that Billy wasn't going to even give Inoki the one fall and that it would end 1-0 for Billy... before he farted around and gave it to him late. I've seen worked finish and post match "heat" spots in New Japan from the era to build for a rematch. I've seen sort of work-shoot finish and post match spots the make you think more is there, such as the two Backlund vs. Inoki title changes (Bob selling in the first that he thought he was quick counted, then all the nonsense in the second). This came across far closer to the looks on people's faces when a real trainwreck is in progress in the ring, such as Andre-Maeda and "Break Gary!". One of Inoki's strong points as a work are his facials, and the ones in here after the match veers off the script aren't something you typically see out of him. The only other match I can think of is the one with Roop where Roop goes off on long stretches of doing his own thing and cutting Inoki off. But but that match never goes far off the bend since Bobby does eventually get back into working towards what appears to be the planned finish. The various times that I've watched it I've never bothered to take notes with times. So again, I'd have to pop the match in and point to it. John

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  • GSR changed the title to [1975-12-11-NJPW] Antonio Inoki vs Billy Robinson

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